Rows overshadow Munich air crash anniversary tribute

It was supposed to be a fitting tribute to honour the 23 men killed in one of football's worst tragedies. But oversights and arguments threaten to overshadow Manchester United's plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster next month.

Debates about what type of tribute, fears that it will be spoilt, the presence of a club sponsor on United's commemorative banner and the revelation that the England national team are not planning to hold a minute's silence have cast a cloud over the anniversary. Preparations had started amicably this month when United said they would be paying tributes at the home game which falls closest to 6 February, the date of the crash in 1958 which claimed eight of the club's "Busby Babes".

The opponents for that game, on 10 February, are United's neighbours Manchester City. Both teams, keen to show solidarity, said they will wear commemorative kits, with the players in plain black boots. United also planned a minute's silence before the game.

City supporters, worried that some of their number would spoil the silence, contacted United officials and asked them to reconsider that idea and instead opt for a minute's applause.

United refused, their spokesman Phil Townsend saying: "It's a solemn event. We don't think applause is the best way to commemorate the death of 23 people." The club still intends to hold the one-minute silence.

Kevin Parker, secretary of the Manchester City Supporters' Club, warned: "We understand what United want to do and the reasons for it, but the reality is that there is a possibility the silence will be disrupted by people from the City section. We didn't want that."

Last week, furious United fans complained to the club about a huge banner covering the glass front of the east stand at the club's Old Trafford ground.

The banner depicts the Busy Babes' final line-up alongside the words of a famous terrace chant, "United Calypso". But the club got the lyrics wrong, omitting a reference to the club's manager Sir Matt Busby. Fans also said the banner carrying the logo of the club sponsor AIG was "vulgar". United apologised for the wording error and replaced the incorrect panels of the banner, but they said the AIG logo was "entirely appropriate".

A Football Association spokesman said all players in England's match with Switzerland on the day of the anniversary would wear black armbands and a video tribute would be shown before the game. No decision has been made on a minute's silence. He denied this was because of fears that fans of other clubs would not respect the silence.

The disaster happened after a flight taking Manchester United's squad, along with supporters and journalists, home from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade stopped to refuel at Munich airport. The British European Airways plane crashed on its third attempt at take-off on a slush-covered runway.

Of the 44 people on board, 23 died, including eight United players and one former City player, Frank Swift, who was working as a journalist. Three of the victims were England internationals.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all